Alex thinks that I should be listing ALL the books I read. But not all are worth a full-fledged book review, so I’m going to start a series of posts where I just list them with a brief thought about each one.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
—An amazing book, very intellectually heavy, about Thomas Cromwell and the court of Henry VIII. Highly recommended if you’re already familiar with the age and the players, would be difficult to follow otherwise. Writing is superb and hilarious. It really paints Cromwell and Thomas More in a new light.
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
—The companion novel to Oryx and Crake, this apocalyptic sci-fi (ish) novel is one of the best I’ve ever read. The writing is amazing, the characters are indelible, and the pacing leaves you without breath. The sci-fi elements are not overwhelming (no flying dragons here, thank you very much). Highly recommended!
Sovereign by C.J. Sansom
—Unfortunately it is this kind of book that gives historical fiction a bad reputation. Basically it’s an episode of CSI set in 1530. Oh no! Someone got pushed off the roof! Was it the doe-eyed lady in waiting, or the foul-mouthed kitchen cook? Only our intrepid legal clerk (with a hunchback) can discover the truth, with the help of his trusty half-Jewish sidekick, Barak. Apparently it’s a series. Not recommended.
Havoc in its Third Year by Ronan Bennett
—This was an interesting book. Hardback, priced at £16.99, yet I purchased it at Poundland, the UK equivalent of the dollar store. The book had physically been beaten up, with the cover scratched and some pages bent. Was it remaindered because of physical damages? Perhaps. I found multiple proofreading errors in the text, and it needed a better developmental edit. I think perhaps it was rushed through production. Basically it’s about the rise of Puritanism in northern England in 1630. It has potential though, so read it if you can get it cheap.
Victoria Line, Central Line by Maeve Binchy
—I would usually not admit to reading Maeve Binchy, but since the local library has her entire collection (and not much else), and since I’m trying to limit my book buying, I’ll have to be honest. I read it. I liked it. It’s good for a beach read.
Little White Lies by Bernadette Strachan
—Chick Lit at it’s best, really, which unfortunately isn’t very good at all. Billie Baskerville gets dumped at the altar, and to recover, she moves to a remote English seaside village to work at her aunt’s bridal shop (ironic? ya think?). There, of course, she recovers her sense of self, and miraculously finds true love! I know, you never saw that one coming, did you? Good for the airplane.
The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman
—This is a fiction novel based on the premise that Peter van Pels (Peter van Daan in Anne Frank’s diary) did not die in the Holocaust. Suggesting that he survived and moved to New Jersey, the book follows his life as he hides from the past while attempting to create a future. This proves difficult, and Peter eventually discovers that he must accept his history. The writing was quite good, and I was intrigued by the idea of how Peter might have grown up. Unfortunately I think the writer became mired in the idea of the psychological suffering of those who lived through the war. There is a great German word for it: verfolgungsbedingt. I would highly recommend this book to be read as a companion to the original diary. It makes an interesting counterpoint.